Saturday, January 20, 2018

Canada much more urbanized than America, so we will never elect a Trump

For some reason, I find demographics fascinating, and I'm a sucker for a nice colourful graph. So, I found a comparison of Canadian and American cities in today's paper riveting.
The main thrust of the article was to point out how much concentrated the Canadian population is in its major cities. In overall terms, America's 10 largest cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Washington, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta and Boston) account for 8% of the country's population. Canada's 10 largest cities (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa-Gatineau, Edmonton, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo), on the other hand, account for 31% of the Canadian population. If we use the census metroplotitan areas (i.e. including the suburbs), the proportions are 27% for the USA and 55% for Canada.
When ranked in order of the most populous cities by share of national population, 7 of the top 10 are Canadian cities: Toronto (16.86%), Montreal (11.66%), Vancouver (7.01%), New York (6.24%), Los Angeles (4.12%), Calgary (3.96%), Ottawa-Gatineau (3.77%), Edmonton (3.76%), Chicago (2.94%) and Quebec City (2.28%).
So, Canada is not a country of farms and small villages after all. We are apparently a gritty, urban bunch. And so, the articles argues, we are, for that reason, much less likely to ever elect a Trump-style populist, a type of politician that generally finds its constituency in rural, working class, poorly-educated areas. This is especially so given the racial make-up of Canadian cities (about three-quarters of Toronto and Vancouver, for example, are first or second generation immigrants), and the fact that we do not share the US's peculiar Senate system, which gives hugely disproportionate power to sparsely-populated rural states (for instance, Wyoming, with half a million inhabitants, has the same number of senators as California, with a population of 39 million).
Well, I thought it was interesting, anyway...

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